Home Working Insights
The Key Findings
Following the completion of our unique Home Working Study, our team have gathered some invaluable insights that can help organisations make better informed decisions relating to future workplace strategy.
Over a period of three months we collected data on over 200 employees from 12 different organisations spanning a range of industries, providing a rich data set including; 4,473 days of wellbeing data, 2,050 performance data points and over 10,140 survey question responses. The aim of our Home Working Study was to provide the wider business community with data-driven insights that would help them understand the most important factors to consider when asking employees to work from home for long periods.
Our team delivered key findings from the study to stakeholders from multiple organisations via live webinars, a recording of which can be viewed below. During the webinar we discussed the key variables measured and how these changed compared to working in an office environment, which metrics had the greatest impact on others and how this affected employee wellbeing & performance, and the between and within company data variations when compared to industry averages.
During the course of delivering the webinars we were asked a number of questions from the audience. We’ve compiled a list of these questions below along with our answers to help provide further context for readers:
- How do you deal with privacy of data?
Data privacy is central to our work, both from an internal perspective and in our projects with clients. That is why we ensure we are compliant with all GDPR policies, technology security and work closely with client privacy teams. This includes implementing things such as Project ID codes, Project email addresses and remote set-up, ensuring that by the time we receive data it is de-identified.
- Do you have any understanding of how the results looked by demographics?
In this webinar we have focused on providing a concise summary of the main findings from the Home Working Study as well as the most pertinent practical takeaway messages. In reality we have only scratched the surface with this data set! This means we’ll be continuing to share learnings, of which diving into demographics is one, so stay tuned for more insights!
- How much commitment is needed from participants?
Our projects are designed to minimise disruption to employee’s daily working life. We ask approximately 15 minutes per week of employees’ time when taking part in an ART project. This includes the time required to complete online surveys, undertake cognitive performance tasks and keep their wearable device updated.
- When you say there’s a need to look at “personas” what did you have in mind – is that job roles or more about personalities?
Persona profiling can include a number of variables designed to provide organisations with a greater understanding of the differences that exist between their employees. This could include aspects such as job roles, demographic data (such as age and gender), personality types and understanding how different cultures respond to specific workspaces and ways of working. Getting a holistic overview of how different personas react to multiple workspaces can only be of benefit to real estate teams when designing future strategy.
- What is the timeline for setting up something like this?
The duration of our projects is dependent on the needs of each client and the number of employees they would like to measure. In terms of the Home Working Study, we had every participant who took part set up within a 4-week period and this was completed fully remotely, with no face to face communications required. This includes aspects such as onboarding (consenting and device set up), as well as the actual recruitment of the employees themselves.
- Were metrics like room natural or air quality were measured by equipment or the participants’ perception?
During the Home Working Study, in the absence of objective data from environmental sensors, we utilised the participants perception as to the comfort of their environmental conditions. In previous projects, working with clients in their workplaces, we have utilised environmental sensors to quantify the impact of different environmental conditions and have published the results of these in peer reviewed scientific journals.
- Were there any insights regarding the technology set up at home?
In this study we didn’t collect data specifically pertaining to which technology aspects employees had access to. However we are very aware that collaboration technologies and the like are potentially key players in supporting home working and will be collecting data in respect of this in future studies.
- How do you see businesses turning this data into actions within the home working environment? How do we define the split of responsibility between employee & employer?
Organisations have a unique opportunity to personalise the home working environment if they collect the right type and quality of data to support that process. This data should drive decision making related to supporting home working over an extended period through improved wellbeing initiatives, physical workstation design or improving the environmental conditions, all specifically tailored to each employee. In addition these sort of insights should guide the return to work strategy by highlighting which employees may need to come back sooner than others. Ultimately it should be the employers responsibility to drive this agenda, but the employee needs to play their part and be open to being monitored so the best solution can be found to support them.
- How you gathered further data around “desirability” post full lockdown? Have peoples employee feedback shifted as they have worked from home for several months?
As alluded to during the webinar, we fully acknowledge the impact of the lockdown restrictions. Our current data is reflective of the period April-June, of which the majority occurred with restrictions. With this in mind, we’ll be keenly continuing to collect data over the ensuing months in a variety of ongoing client projects to quantify the impact as things continue to return to a “new normal”.
- Did environment influence performance?
Early insights have certainly pointed towards the home working environment having an impact on performance, whether that be lighting conditions, surrounding noise levels or thermal comfort. This adds to previous data that we have collected in the workplace to reinforce the importance of environmental conditions to facilitate performance. Albeit the benefit in the home is that employees can look to personalise this!
- Do you aggregate data by way of female v male? Historically this has always been an issue and wonder if skews data (particularly findings around distractions at home).
In the Home Working Study we did not collect information to stratify by female v male. Instead our demographic focus is on age, job role and type of work performed to give holistic recommendations that would be tailored to these groups. In reality there are many different ways to stratify the data but these will also include much variation. Our view is that understanding the data down to the individual level will provide the most useful insights that can be practically applied with the largest likelihood of success!
- Are there any issues with GDPR / limitations on the data you can publish?
The data we collect is always subject to GDPR and client privacy guidelines. Any data we publish is always anonymised and would only be put in the public domain if we had permission from the client we were working with (often we do this in conjunction with the client). For projects like the Home Working Study, we have more freedom to publish the insights, but again are always very mindful of data privacy and security, so do not provide any information that could identify companies or individuals.
The ART Team